Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adoption Carnival III: All About the Kids

Grown in my Heart's new blog carnival is All About the Kids. Following Tonggu Momma's example, I am posting some of my most precious adoption photos. I have not even scrapped these photos yet as the emotions are still so overwhelming. Along with the joy and love the whole trip brought about, there was also this defining time on the way to the airport where the sadness, guilt and confusion were so overwhelming. I was taking my baby away from her country. Her language. A place where she looked like everyone else and would never be a minority. Somewhere out there...her parents. We were taking it all away. And no amount of counting the blessings and advantages will ever change what we TOOK from her....regardless of what we give. For every "gain" in adoption...there is a forever loss also. That is the nature of adoption. Joy and pain, forever entwined.

So today I sat down and looked through our photos of our time in China. There is so much I have already "forgotten". There is the way MM always had her tongue out...yet never put anythig in her mouth. It was like she was tasting the air. She always was playing with her fingers and hands.....such beautiful and graceful movements....yet she was a very still child and just did not move around much at all.

Anyways...on to the pictures...

When we received MM, it was just two families in the Civil Affairs Office, so it was rather low key and quiet. MM did not cry like we were expecting. You can see the avoidance behavior in her body language. She arched back and did not want to be held very close. She threw her hands back most of the time also.

We were very shocked with her appearance. First, she was drop dead gorgeous. An extremely beautiful baby. Her pictures had not done her justice and I didn't even recognize her. Second, this little baby whose socks dont fit....who is less than 12 pounds when they hand her to almost 8 months old. She doesn't hardly look 3 months old.
Leaving the Civil Affairs office was rather surreal. It just didn't feel right to walk out of a building with a baby I did not give birth to. It was all very overwhelming for MM. We found out that her strongest coping behavior at the time was to just go to sleep when it was all too much for her. I know I just stared at her and drank it all in all the way back to the hotel.
We found out quickly that MM loved to be carried in the long as she didn't get hot. The bad thing was that she was so small she could slip out the leg holes!! We had to improvise with a blanket stuffed in to keep her from falling out. We also had to fold the back of the sling down or she would be completely covered up and couldn't see. Notice the tongue? This is one of her strange behaviors. She always had her tongue out when she was curious or happy.
Poor baby was so undernourised that she was bald on top. Once again you see the hands and fingers...they were always working.

Our trip to the orphanage was very overwhelming and NOISY. When we first went upstairs the doctor came out to check the two girls. Our travel mates had a sick baby and the doctor wanted to make sure the medicine she sent was working and the baby was doing well. She then checked MM over real quick. We found that MM does not like covered faces. She snatched the mask off the doctors face so fast it was a blur. Everyone got a pretty good laugh out of that. Yes, the tongue is out during this manuever.
The baby room was just about my undoing. How could there be so many babies???? The good thing was that there were plenty of nannies and they were all clean and happy looking. But where were these baby's mommies???? It was heart breaking. The little girl in the shot with MM was a child that caught my eye the minute I walked in and I was mesmerized with her the entire time. She seemed to feel the same so the nannies brought her over to me. She was easily twice MM's size even though the same age. If I could have taken her home also I would have. I am happy to say she was adopted by a family in Spain and I was able to send the pictures I had of her to her new mommy and daddy.

Oh, and there is that tongue again. The nannies would actually flick it...and she would stick it out even more so they would keep doing it. It was strange.
Soon it was time to go. When MM was handed back to me she grabbed on and licked me good. I think that was when I was CLAIMED. She hasn't let go since.
We were sent off with fond farewells. MM was even given a santa hat since it was Christmas. Too cute! But you can see in her face that she is done. The blank stare returns and the thumb goes in the mouth. She wants quiet.

Notice the rolled up sleeves??? We couldn't find clothes to fit her in China and everything we brought was too big. Most of the stores surrounding the hotels didn't carry newborn or three month clothing. They are used to selling for babies closer to a year old.

Wow. That was quite a blast from the past. I really should get these photos out of the bags they are sitting in and into albums. Maybe that will be my New Years Resolution. Right now, I'm still not ready.


  1. She is just beautiful! It's heartbreaking that she was so undernourished, and wary of closeness with other people. Poor baby! She's a lucky girl to have such a loving family now.

    Nice to see pics of you! I'm not sure that I have in the past.

  2. I remember when you brought her home. How protective of her and her needs you were. How attentive. You were always a good mom, but having MM changed you so much. You are a great mom to her.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! I remember the same very strange feeling (we walked out of a hospital)--really, this baby was going home with us?!? Very surreal.

  4. Seeing this, hearing this, makes me realize that I am not ready, emotionally, for how tough it is going to be. I don't think I can be ready. I can't prepare myself. I will just go, and do, and put one foot in front of the other as I go.
    Thanks for sharing that beautiful story, and all the emotions.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Your little one is precious.

    Reading about the room full of babies made me sad, too.

  6. Thanks for sharing your pictures, your thoughts and feelings, and more of MM's story. What a precious experience. It was a sad reminder that in all of this, there is always pain mixed with the joy. We are blessed to know you and your sweet girl!

  7. Thanks for sharing all of these photos... she is absolutely beautiful.

    And we were in the same boat with the clothing. 3-6 month clothing was difficult to find for sure - I can't imagine looking for newborn.

  8. Your photos brought tears to my eyes!!! What treasures we have!!

    i too felt such guilt takting my baby from her bcountry!!!

    Hugs,leslie R
    Adoptive mom to Abby home from Guatemala since nov 2006

  9. SO beautiful. Makes me cry. Don't doubt for a minute what you have given that sweet child. :) You make a lovely family! We miss you terribly!